One of my very favorite things to do every day is get the mail. Always has been. I made friends with the mailman when I was five years old and would wait on the corner for the school bus to take me to kindergarten; and never looked back. I used to leave the flag up on the side of the mailbox even when nothing was going out; because whenever I’d pass by the front windows of our house all I would have to do is look out and see if it was still up or not to know if the mail had been delivered yet. Some days I would sit on the stairs inside my house staring out the window for hours, willing the mailman to come by and leave something just for me; except he hardly ever did. I think it’s because mail travels, and I’ve always wanted to travel, too. I somehow knew the mail was coming from some exotic, far off place and I wanted a part of that. As a teenager I even had two pen pals! One from Jamaica, and the other from Greece (another place I’ve always dreamed of going). Who can resist a hot Greek guy? Not me.
These days I find myself with a lot of time on my hands. I can’t do much physically so I don’t really go anywhere and everyone I’d love to be spending time with us either too far away or too busy to hang out; so once in awhile I like to send off a few note cards to let people know I am still alive and thinking about them. After all, who doesn’t enjoy getting all the mail that isn’t going to the junk pile or bills?
It is probably now that I should tell you I have a little problem. And by problem I mean full-blown addiction, to stationery. School and office supply stores are like my crack. My favorite place at Barnes and Noble besides the bookshelves? The stationery corner. I love the post office, too. They give you Priority Mail packing supplies. FOR FREE. You can just pick up some labels, boxes & envelopes, walk right on out of there, and nobody blinks! I’m super picky about my stamps, too. They have to be cute! Or at least make the envelope look attractive and enticing. I’ve even overpaid for postage just so I could get a particular book of stamps that I love but has been out of print since 2011. I’m on my last book of them so today I spent several hours scouring ebay for what’s left. All but one book are out of my price range, and that’s sad because they are so lovely and make my note cards look so pretty in your mailbox! Never fear, ebay (like Pinterest) is a rabbit hole I’ll happily spend time in and I found thousands of old school stamps, you know the kind you have to lick? and as long as you put the correct amount on there the post office is happy to send your letter along its way. Most are horrifically overpriced, but them’s the breaks when your creature habit is to send beautiful mail to your friends and acquaintances!
I also love to send themed care packages. I wish I could send one a month, but I like to do it right and can’t afford it that often. They go out about quarterly. If you haven’t received one, you will! Someday… ha ha ha. I’ve been thinking of sending smaller packages so I can send them out more often, but that thought just came to me today so we’ll have to see what I come up with. During random holidays I like to put stuff together to send to my plentiful nieces and handful of nephews. And by handful, I mean two. I mean three. (Sorry, H!) We live so far and have so few opportunities to get to know each other, I’m trying to buy their love by putting myself in the mail for them. I hope it works!
Today I prepared 7 cards. Seven pieces of former tree are on their way (ok, actually it’s six as I am still waiting for a Canadian address – you know who you are) to people who touch my life in one way or another. Friends who have seen me at my best and worst. Friends for life as well as friends I’ve just met, and people I only know online. I know they feel like it’s me who is doing the great thing by writing, but it is they who give me reason to keep going forward day after day. Our shared pasts and present moments of time, stolen from our families to reclaim our younger selves, are what keep me tethered to this earth when things get hard (as they often do); and sending a stupid little card every few weeks is the least I can do to thank them.